Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Other Workshop Mates' blogs!

If you're needing a fix of info from the Imaginism Studios workshop and haven't seen these already, take a look at the awesome posts the others in my group are writing.

Filipe Laurentino: http://www.laurentino.com.br/en/blog/
Daria Zersen: zersen.blogspot.com
Jimena Sanchez:  monitosbonitos.com

Quick update

I guess one blog post in a week is a good indicator of how crazy demanding things have been here. It is all wonderfully productive, lots of late nights of homework assignments, learning about light, realistic painting, dynamics of drapery, anatomy, and more. So much more! Life, career goals, time management, etc. etc.

Let's not forget our amazing visit with Doug Sneyd this weekend. Doug Sneyd has been illustrating for Playboy Magazine since the 1960's, so naturally his wisdom about the industry and his technical skill are unparalleled. 

Not to mention, he is totally hilarious, as you'd imagine. It was truly an honor to be a guest in his home, viewing his work from decades past, and hearing his thoughts on our careers and where we can go from here.

We're all trying hard to ignore the fact that we've already been here for two weeks, and that we're technically half way finished. I prefer the glass-half-full idea that we've already had two weeks of great education and new ideas for the future. 

I've started to get some clarity on my next projects, which is very exciting. Looking forward to giving another update, hopefully even sooner. :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Picture time.

So, while I'm probably too tired to properly post ever again, I thought I'd at least take an opportunity to show you some photos from the weekend. We went subway sketching, checked out a mall full of giant ghost deer (at least that's what I like to call them) and found Jimena's evil twin brother. All in all, a good weekend.

Oh, and lets not forget the 8 - 12 hours of drawing and painting at the house. There was that, too. :)

66 flavors of burgers and wings....I'm not going back to NYC.

Filipe, Jimena, Daria. And a pole.

Look at these guys.

Jimena, Daria, and Filipe while we were on a trek through downtown.

That guy could eat you. Seriously huge.

These deer ghosts are obviously in the wrong place.

Jimena's evil twin was at the mall in Canada...random, right!?

Gonna get drunk on pancakes.

Get your subway sketch on. Peace sign and devil horns. We couldn't be more cliche if we tried. Haha.

This is my "whatchoo doin with that camera" face.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Nitty Gritty

Photo by Workshopmate Filipe Laurentino

After yesterday, my ideas of how to develop story and character have been changed in really great ways. We learned techniques for being more receptive, more intuitive, and more expressive, and crazy character ideas were floating around all day.

OH....and we bravely ventured into the great outdoors. Seriously getting cold up here, kids.

Basically things are going as you may expect.... late to bed, early to rise, and extremely productive. Week one is almost over, and it has been worth the entire expense and journey already. I can't believe my work stands to transform this much three more times at least before I leave.

This workshop also gives us all pause to consider our larger goals, and we've been getting a lot of feedback on pursuing them. When you really get down to it and organize your thoughts, there's very little you can't accomplish if you set your mind to it and use common sense. The same is true of anything, artistic or otherwise.

I accidentally (and only temporarily) stole a shopping cart. They do shopping carts differently here, I learned very quickly. Lesson number one about Canada.... if something looks free to use, make sure someone else didn't put money in it to make it functional first.

On a final note, I would like to point out again that T's cooking is not to be reckoned with. That is all.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Day 4 - Salads, Mass Hysteria, & Efficiency

Curves are actually straight lines. Arms and legs are boxes. Up is down. As the great Dr. Peter Venkman would say, "Dogs and cats, living together! Mass hysteria!" Who knows what assumptions will be shattered and rebuilt next!?

Our notions of structure are being simplified. There is an elegance to this new method that isn't just about making it 'right'....it is about making it right the first time. Drawing carefully and correctly can be faster than drawing quickly.

This is so much more valuable than someone leaning over your shoulder giving advice on a single specific piece of art....this is much more efficient and effective knowledge for us.

I started some sketches last night and I feel like a different person is at the computer than the guy that was painting back home a couple of weeks ago. I think that's a great sign.

Also, change of subject, but I'm gonna take some pictures of Thierry's awesome lunch salads for you all soon. You haven't had lunch until you've had lunch T-bear style.

Feel free to talk to me on twitter or email me if you have any questions. I know when Jodee Taylah was writing about her experience, I was glued to every post. :)

Also, if you aren't already, go to the Imaginism Workshop Blog and check out the updates from everyone else.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

50-Headed Monster and Bobby Chiu

Filipe, Daria, and Jimena on break, but not really because there are entirely too many awesome things to read here.
Day two was definitely the beginning of something new and magical that none of us quite understand yet, even if we think we do. Thierry has been teaching us how to restructure our thinking about the human head and how to rethink how things are built and appear in physical space.

Our drawings are very abstract right now, almost just notes of how we are thinking when we look at things in the world (like I said yesterday.) but I think we are all learning immensely from it, and I can already tell that my approach to getting my imagination on paper has improved. Drawing heads in a few simple brush strokes in a matter of minutes that are intended to read as having depth and structure is no small task, but we are performing as well as we can, and doing a good job, if I may say so.

Oh, hello little guy on the wall....I know you.
Suffice to say, there is more being packed into our brains than we can digest in one day but there is already immediate improvement in everyone's work just from having Thierry surgically deconstruct our thinking.

Today (day three) was our Master Class lecture from Bobby Chiu. I am so blown away by the knowledge and the new perspectives that I don't even think I can speak on it just yet, maybe tomorrow or the next day....or next year. I have a lot to think about and plan for.

Also I should point out that it really feels like we are one team pursuing one goal together, and a lot of people are lucky if they ever have that once in their lives, much less for an entire month about art.

Break is over, now it is time to learn some more from Thierry about these 50 heads we drew last night (and then had to be up early for Bobby's live-changing talk) then it is on to the next challenge.

Maybe it will be 50 more heads. And why not? I can't get enough of them. Haha!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

First impressions

Monday was our first day doing 'lessons' from Thierry, but it has been a non-stop learning experience so far. Sunday in the airport we sketched while waiting on classmates to arrive, learning a million little things from Thierry before even starting.

The first day I filled pages with notes, notes on things T said about life, about art, or about common sense, things that weren't even parts of the lesson at times.

We are learning about structure, how to make our images have more depth and interesting features. I feel like I have had my eyes opened to how 'flat' my art can be, and how to fix it, and it is only the first day.

Dinner with the Imaginism team was enlightening and fun, of COURSE. The conversation moved from art, to mango milkshakes, to Richard Branson and then back again!

Looking forward to sharing some art soon, we are doing a lot of drawing right now that is mostly mental work and not very aesthetically appealing. The work right now is about reconfiguring our brains to think differently about our work.

That is truly the most valuable type of knowledge, though. It is the old idea of 'teaching a man to fish' which is stuff we can take with us and work on for years to come.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Final Thoughts Before Toronto

I figured that the next three days will be a veritable madhouse as I try to solve many of life's tough travel-questions. Will Canada accept me? How many socks is too many socks? Since I'm driving, do I REALLY need to pack a suitcase, or can I just throw everything in my car? Wait, did I remember socks?

So I decided to go ahead and put down some final thoughts on what I hope to get out of this workshop, my goals for the trip, and what I'm excited about learning and experiencing.

First of all, for anyone just tuning in, I'm going to Toronto for the Imaginism Studios In-House Workshop. Only 4 artists from all over the world were chosen for this workshop, and we're only the second group to go through it. It will consist of drawing, painting, and learning in an intensely productive environment from Thierry Lafontaine, Bobby Chiu, Kei Acedera and others about how they make the work that has made them so successful, and how to become better at what it is that I do.

Of course, primarily, I just want to come away a better artist. I want to have more focus in my work, find new ways to use my imagination, and some new skills to accompany that.

I also want to have an actual strategy for getting my work out to the public more effectively and attracting clients in the hopes of one day being a full-time artist.

I am excited about the RARE opportunity to completely devote a month to my art, I'm already used to 16 hour days (split between work and art, almost every day is this for me!), but for them to be filled with art is a rare blessing.

I am excited about soaking up the energy Thierry Lafontaine, Bobby Chiu, Kei Acedera, and the rest of the Imaginism crew will be exuding. It has always been a huge curiosity of mine - the day-to-day lifestyles of these powerhouse creators, what makes them tick, how they conduct their day-to-day business, etc. and to glean any small bits of wisdom from that will definitely improve my life.

I am excited about seeing what their process is like as they work on their own projects. Getting to watch the teacher at work on something more than just a demonstration is sometimes more insightful than any teaching could be.

I can't wait to meet my fellow classmates. I have a strong feeling that after a month of interaction, we will be life-long friends that will continue to encourage each other for years to come. I hope to be challenged by them, and I hope to challenge them in turn.

I want to make this a longer list, but I feel like these broad strokes are all that I can really define at this point. There's really no need to get more specific. At this point, I'm truly excited and ready to give my brain over to the experts, let them tinker with it, and take it back home with me after the workshop and make them proud.

I am proud of the person I am, that I was able to accomplish this with the support of friends and fans of my art. When I initially looked at the application, I disregarded it as something I was not in a position to do with my life. Now, six months later, I'm packing my bags. It is absolutely unbelievable what you can do when you just make up your mind and set a goal.

I'm already a better artist than I was when I applied. The process of fund-raising for the trip and trying to be as sharp as possible has really paid off. I've made some of my best work in the last few weeks, and I couldn't be more grateful to arrive as a sharp artist, ready for whatever Imaginism throws at me.

More than anything, I've just been inspired by the fact that this workshop exists. The fact that Imaginism took the time to say "hey....we should do this." and put in all of the work to make it happen is simply astounding. We are lucky to have such generous artists in the world.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Imaginism Studios Workshop

Well, the time is finally upon us!

Sorry I didn't update much. I was busy drawing and painting. FORGIVE ME.

Anyway, I'm off to Toronto next weekend, and I'll be there learning from the greatest concept artists I know of, Bobby Chiu, Thierry Lafontaine, Kei Acedera, and my three yet-to-be-met classmates!

I'm looking forward to an amazing trip, and I'll be updating here as close to daily as possible. Stay tuned!

Andrew's Magic Puppy

This is the latest digital painting commission I finished, for my friend Christina, whose six year old son believes that his puppy stuffed animal comes to life at night as his 'Magic Puppy' and protects him from monsters that are up to no good. This is my take on the story. Hope you enjoy! (click for a larger version)


Some would call this a bit of an Angry Birds homage....I won't argue, but it wasn't my original intention. :) Click for a larger version.

Glowing Scout Lemur (updated)

Made some changes to this one, you can see the before and after here (the 'before' is on the left, click to enlarge!).

Also, check this out, just for funsies. This is the sketch about 20 mins in, and the final on the right. :)